Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  December 11, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

3:00 pm
world, egypt, where supporters and opponents of president morsi staged rival rallies in cairo four days ahead of vote on a proposed constitution. >> suarez: next in our series of conversations about solving the fiscal crisis, gwen ifill talks with representative allyson schwartz, a democrat from pennsylvania. >> woodruff: we examine an almost $2 billion government settlement with british bank hsbc over charges of money laundering for the nation of iran and mexican drug cartels. >> suarez: jeffrey brown profiles chinese artist and dissident ai wei wei, whose work is on exhibit in the u.s. for the first time. >> if we can change ourselves, that means part of society will change. if more people can do so, then we can change the society. >> woodruff: and we look at what the federal trade commission calls a "digital danger zone," mobile applications that gather data about children. >> what needs to be done is a
3:01 pm
way for parents to easily at any time see exactly what's being collected and who they are sharing that information with. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy, productive life.
3:02 pm
and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: michigan, a state considered a cradle of the union movement, today struck a blow against organized labor. the republican-dominated state legislature approved laws that deny unions the right to require membership in exchange for a job. more than 12,000 people gathered outside the state capitol in lansing to protest the move. inside, they chanted "shame on you!" at republican governor rick snyder. late today he signed the bill. for more, we're joined by
3:03 pm
micheline maynard, a contributor to and former detroit bureau chief for the "new york times," and by bill ballenger, editor of "inside michigan politics." welcome to you both. mickey maynard. first, this has all happened very quickly. what precipitated this right now. >> there were two things that happened, judy. first of all in november there was a ballot proposal that unions floated that would have outlawed right-to-work. it would have put that into the state constitution. that proposal failed because it was proposed at the same time as a lot of constitutional amendments. people just sort of cast one vote against all of them. the second thing that happened was republicans gave up some seats in the house and senate. it will still be a republican majority in january but it will be smaller. if right-to-work was going to happen this lame duck republican-controlled legislature was where it was going to happen. >> woodruff: bill, in a state that voted by ten points for president obama in november, it's a state that is striking a blow for right-to-work.
3:04 pm
how do you explain that? >> there was a mixeded result on november 6. i think everything mickey said is absolutely true, but republicans still control state government. they've got an ironclad grip from the governor's office, both houses of the legislature, the state supreme court, attorney general, secretary of state, and the window was closing. there are only two weeks left before the end of the year. and they had to get it done now or they were going to turn into pumpkins on new year's eve and only have a slim majority that might not be enough to get right to work to pass early next year. >> woodruff: mickey maynard, the republicans are saying this is going to help the state's economy, what has happened. is there a consensus in the state about whether that is correct or not? >> no, absolutely not. but republicans... what they have been saying and i've been listening to this discussion for the better part of a couple of years is that michigan needs to
3:05 pm
be right-to-work so that it can compete with other states for investment. if you look across the american south, all those states that have landed those new japannese, german, korean car plants, they're right-to-work states with the exception of ohio now because indiana has become a right-to-work state. actually there's a great rivalry between indiana and michigan. mitch dan yells, the governor in indiana essentially said if we want to be competitive with the the south we need right to work. they got right to work. i think indiana was a reason why michigan got right to work. but opponents of this legislation are now saying you hurt the middle class. you lower wages. it's much harder for unions to represent people to look out for their best interests. and they have essentially predicted all kinds of gloom and doom for the state of michigan now that this is law. >> woodruff: bill ballanger what's your take on that and is there a consensus of what this
3:06 pm
means for michigan workers and michigan employers. >> mickey's right. they are anticipating, most people are, that somehow this is really going to strike a terrible blow to organized lab labor, that they're going to lose membership. they're going to lose money. they're just going to wither on the vine and die. i'm not convinced necessarily that's true. as governor snyder has said, look, if labor unions can demonstrate to the workers that they can deliver a good product for their members, they should be able to continue to thrive. so i'm not convinced it's going to be as terrible as everybody is predicting. but it certainly is not going to help organized labor. they are going going to lose some memberships. we've seen that in other states. we've seen it in wisconsin and for that matter in the last year in indiana. membership starting to dwindle in some key unions as a result of the labor reforms that those republican-dominated legislatures have taken.
3:07 pm
>> woodruff: mickey maynard, what is the sense of the effect that is going to have on organized labor. you talked about other states. not just in michigan but beyond michigan borders. >> one of the things i've watched the labor movement do over the last basically four or five years is a lot of the focus was on getting barack obama or a democrat elected president and also getting representatives and senators elected to washington. i think they took their eye off the ball to some extent in these local races. well now we see what happens when you don't have the feet on the ground, the money in the local races, you end up with state legislatures that are unfriendly to labor causes. so i think the wake-up call for labor nationally to focus on some of these states. i'm thinking about ohio now. ohio passed and then repealed a limit on collective bargaining for public employees but it doesn't mean that the issue won't come up there again. states like pennsylvania are not
3:08 pm
right to work states. there are still opportunities for the conservative movement, the antilabor movement, to go in for right to work. i think someone maybe in the labor movement will say, okay, we draw a land in the sand with michigan. we can't let this spread any further because there's clearly a domino effect. >> woodruff: what about that, bill? how do you see this in the grand scheme of the face-off that continues now between organized labor and those who believe it's what organized labor does hurts... can hurt the economy. >> well, a couple of things. we shouldn't forget that what was passed today in the legislature affects public employees in addition to the private sector. work force. we've been talking about the automobile industry, but this affects school teachers. state and local public employees. anybody who is part of a public employee union. they are affected by this. they are just as angry as the
3:09 pm
private sector workers. in fact, the only growth sector in the union movement in this country over the last decade or two has been in the public sector. so that was a big target of today. i think you're going to see some recall efforts. they're going to start up again although, by the way, the republican legislature has now amended the recall law to make recalls tougher. i think there will be a lot of litigation. this is going to be fought out for a long time. this thing isn't a slam dunk over and done with today. this was a major event, but this battle is going to continue for days or weeks into the future. >> woodruff: a major event for sure. we thank both of you for talking with us. bill ballanger and micheline maynard. >> thank you, judy. >> suarez: still to come on the newshour, egypt's worsening political crisis; pennsylvania democrat allyson schwartz; a settlement in a money laundering case; a chinese artist's first american exhibit; and privacy
3:10 pm
worries over mobile apps for kids. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: u.s. exports dropped in october by the most in nearly four years, and the trade deficit grew nearly 5%. the commerce department said the gap topped $42 billion. still, wall street managed to make some gains. the dow jones industrial average added 78 points to close at 13,248. the nasdaq rose 35 points to close at 3022. russia is resisting the latest u.s. appeal to help force syrian president bashar al-assad out of office. that word came today in the russian newspaper, "kommersant." it said moscow is convinced assad will not go voluntarily, no matter what pressure is applied. meanwhile, u.s. defense secretary leon panetta said chances of the syrian regime resorting to chemical weapons may be easing. he spoke during a flight to kuwait. we have seen not seen anything new indicating any aggressive steps to move forward in that way, but we continue to
3:11 pm
monitor it very closely. we continue to make clear to them that they should not under any means make use of these chemical weapons against their own population. >> sreenivasan: also today, the united nations reported the number of syrian refugees fleeing the fighting has grown to more than 500,000, all across the middle east. and inside syria, rebels captured a second major military base near the northern city of aleppo. new details have emerged from south africa on the health of former president nelson mandela. the government announced today that military doctors are treating him for a recurring lung infection. mandela is 94 years old. he's been hospitalized since saturday, but officials said he is responding to treatment. an investigation of paying pro football players for causing injuries took a sharp new turn today. the man appointed to hear appeals, former nfl commissioner paul tagliabue, voided the suspensions of four current and former new orleans saints. tagliabue said actions by team coaches and others had
3:12 pm
contaminated the case. he did agree that three of the players should be fined. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to ray. >> suarez: cairo is the scene of mass rallies again tonight. demonstrators on both sides of the upcoming referendum are on the streets of the capital. their refrain was "bread, freedom and sharia" or islamic law from supporters of president mohammed morsi in cairo. morsi, morsi, they chanted. reporters also gathered in the coastal city of alexandria this evening, just days before a referendum on a draft constitution. it would affirm many tenets of sharia as the law of the land. >> i support the president. i think that opponents of the president claim that egypt would turn into an islamic state. but the reality is if they do not want a constitution that contains islamic law and they fear the growth of the islamic
3:13 pm
political current. >> suarez: back in cairo, morsi's opponents gathered again, separated from the president's muslim brotherhood backers by barricades. >> all these barricades you see here will not stop a million revolutionaries. they will eat these stones, not demolish them. they will eat them. >> suarez: violence between the two sides last week killed seven and wounded hundreds. and before dawn today, masked gunman sprayed birth shot at protestors in tahrir square miles from the presidential palace. nine people were hurt. amid the action in the streets, some in the anti-morsi faction urged like-minded egyptians to skip this weekend's voting and a group of judges voted overwhelmingly not to oversee saturday's referendum but others opposed the boycott and argued that voting no would be more meaningful. >> do not ruin your vote. not going to vote is a negative act and will be of no use to
3:14 pm
anything. go down and vote. say no so the revolution can unite us, one hand with the civil state and freedom. >> suarez: meanwhile egypt's military chief called for nonpolitical national unity talks tomorrow. over the weekend, morsi vested the army with new powers to enforce security and safeguard state institutions. also today funding those institutions was at issue. a nearly $5 billion international monetary fund loan was delayed at egypt's request until the political crisis abates. i'm joined by the middle east and north africa correspondent for the financial times. welcome to the program. just a few days after president morsi asked the army to restore peace to the streets of egypt, the head of the military has called for national reconciliation dialogue. what's going on? >> well, there's a couple different possibilities. one is that you're seeing a
3:15 pm
little bit of the army reentering the scene. viewers may recall that just a few months ago, president morsi made a dramatic move against the army and got them somewhat out of politics. at least visibly. on the other hand, this could also be something that morsi himself had suggested in an attempt to ease tensions, to bring the opposition to the table. so far morsi has said that he will attend these talks tomorrow afternoon, but the opposition says they're still debating. >> suarez: the face-offs between pro morsi and anti-morsi forces on the streets of the country seem to be escalating. have we reached a point of no return? can these two groups even talk to each other any longer? >> you raise a very good point. the polarization in this country right now is somewhat unprecedented between the two egypts, as people are calling it: the secular, liberal, more diverse egypt, and the rising
3:16 pm
islamist juggernaut that seems to be changing the face of egypt and much of the rest of north africa. on these sides there's a lot of mistrust. there's a lot of anger. there's a lot of suspicion. i would even call it paranoia on the part of each side. there doesn't seem to be a lot of like a lot of common ground between these two sides. on the other hand, there might be some kind of resolution to this if the liberal forces are able to get their act together politically and field a credible field of candidates for upcoming parliamentary elections and are able to exert their own will and amend this constitution that they seem to despise so much. >> suarez: meanwhile the constitutional referendum is approaching amid calls for a boycott, amid judges saying they won't oversee the election.
3:17 pm
is is this thing going to come off, and is it going to give a result that's not ambiguous? >> yeah, i think the absence of the judges is going to really harm the credibility and the transparency of the whole process. who will vouch to the public that the elections were free and fair? i think it's going to... whatever the outcome of the election, the losing side can credibly say that, hey, this was not a normal election. in a way it's kind of sad because, you know, the results of the election aside, we've had a whole bunch of elections in egypt over the last couple years each one seemed to at least on election day bring people together in a spirit of democracy and patriotism. this one seems to be driving people further apart. >> suarez: in the midst of all this is still a new president: mohammed morsi. he's getting his arms and the job. or is he being swept along by
3:18 pm
the tide of events? is he someone who really has authority in this country? >> i think he has... he and his organization, the muslim brotherhood, have a lot of authority with a certain segment of the society. a certain rather large segment of the society. the muslim brotherhood is the best organized group in the country and its islamist allies also seem to have their act together as far as getting numbers out for elections and out into the streets. but among the... and this is kind of the problem with the polarization. he does not have a lot of authority even though he was democratic elected with those who are opposed to his most recent moves. even some people who voted for him in recent elections have turned against him in a very harsh way. >> suarez: of the financial times, thanks for joining us. >> woodruff: you can see more images from today's >> woodruff: you can see more images from today's protests in tahrir square, including the efforts to storm a blockade in
3:19 pm
front of the presidential palace. the photo essay is on our home page. >> suarez: and we turn again to the budget talks in washington. republicans have sent the white house a counterproposal in response to a new plan president obama offered up privately yesterday. a boehner aide said the g.o.p. is waiting for the president to identify spending cuts, a point the speaker made on the house floor earlier today while white house press secretary jay carney called on republicans to get serious about revenue. >> where are the president's spending cuts? the longer the white house slow-walks this process, the closer our economy gets to the fiscal cliff. now, if the president doesn't agree with our approach, he's got an obligation to put forward a plan that can pass both chambers of the congress.
3:20 pm
because right now the american people have to be scratching their heads and wondering when is the president going to get serious? >> on that question of whether or not we have put forward specific spending cuts, the answer is is we have. not only that, we signed law a trillion dollars in specific spending cuts. so if you combine what is signed into law with what we proposed versus the total absence of any specificity from the republicans for a single dollar in revenue, i think in the battle of specificity, the outcome has already been decided. >> woodruff: and a short time ago an administration official told us the president and the speaker spoke by phone this evening. now to our series of conversations on this subject and what should be done. we've listened to a range of opinions in recent days, including erskine bowles of the simpson-bowles commission;
3:21 pm
prize-winning economist paul krugman; the c.e.o. of aetna insurance, mark bertolini; the head of a group that advocates protecting social security, max richman; and republican senator bob corker. gwen ifill has our next installment. >> ifill: a senior democrat on the house banking committee and the vice chair of the centrist new democrat coalition. welcome, congresswoman. we heard earlier today from john boehner and from jay carney at the white house, one saying spending cuts aren't serious coming from the house and the other saying the white house has put forth all the spending cuts that need to be put out. how do you prioritize what should be the focus here: spending cuts or raising revenue? >> most of us know it's got to be both. the fact is the president put out a really very sensible plan, middle-ground where it actually included spending cuts. we've already done a trillion dollars and we'll be doing another trillion dollars over a trillion dollars in cuts. that's $2 trillion. that's serious spending cuts over and above what we've done
3:22 pm
already. and of course we do think there has to be some revenue. then we're going to make sure we're doing the right kind of investments so we see economic growth. if it's not all three we're not going to get there. the math doesn't add up. this has been a real problem. if the republicans don't actually recognize the need for revenues and a balanced approach, then no matter how many spending cuts we do, they're not going to come to the table. we need them to recognize we've already committed well over $2 trillion in cuts. that's serious given the economic challenges we face. it will have real effects. we're planning to do that. we'd like to do that in a sensible way. and we should. but we need to have the republicans, john boehner as the leader of the republicans in the house, agree to some hard revenues as well. >> ifill: you said there are those three things. let's walk through them. talking about tax rates, the president has said that the taxes have to go up on the wealthy. defining that as anyone who earns more than $250,000 a year. would you be comfortable with raising that floor to, say, $500,000 a year, defining
3:23 pm
wealthy upwards? >> well, you know i have put forward two years ago when we were struggling with this same question, i was willing to be flexible on where we made that cut. but the fact is, it was two years later. we're asking for an increase of 4%. you're going from 34 to 39% essentially for a marginal rate. so this is everyone gets a tax break for their first $250,000 and this is income above that after deductions. so it really is... >> ifill: is it possible to make a deal by not having as many people affected by those higher tax breaks? would that sound reasonable to you? >> if john boehner said, look, i know we have to raise this rate. i'm willing to raise rates. i know that we could cut out some deductions on the corporate side. we can get some income in other ways. let's talk about that. then i think the conversation could be had at that table. >> ifill: how about reaching an agreement on some of the spending by, for instance, raising the eligibility age for
3:24 pm
medicare? was that something that you could imagine, raising real money from? >> i think we have to look at these a little bit different. we have to look at the budget which is, of course, nondiscretionary spending, nondefense discretionary and defense spending, the trillion dollars we've already committed. the way we start the conversation about medicare has to be -- we haven't yet heard the republicans say this -- it has to be from our point of view start with the fact that we are going to strengthen and protect and assure that medicare continues for our current seniors and for future seniors. we will not cut benefits. we don't want to cut eligibility at either. i think it has to be universal, all seniors. and that we do want to protect these important benefits. then we have the conversation about how we can make sure it's sustainable well into the future. as you know the action we took under the affordable care act extended the life of the medicare trust fund by seven years.
3:25 pm
so we made some real serious effort there in making sure that we could guarantee medicare for longer. we have some more work to do. i think we're willing to have that conversation. but we have to start with a commitment to medicare. >> ifill: should democrats be prepared to go over the edge of the cliff if it's necessary to do what you think should be done? >> i think where we are is in a strong position. we just came through an election. the president was very clear about protecting the middle class. tax cuts to the middle class and actually for all americans. again that first $250,000 of income will be... will not see any kind of rate increase. he won. he was very clear about this that he was asking just the top two percent of americans to pay a bit more on income above $250,000. the truth is that's the beginning of the conversation. we have work to do on investments, income as well. we would like to do work on the corporate side, on the business side as well. >> ifill: as someone who
3:26 pm
represents or describes herself as socially liberal, fiscally conservative, do you think your voice is being heard at the table? >> you're right. i was one of just 38 members of congress who split almost evenly between republicans and democrats who did vote for a budget based on a big-picture deficit-reduction done in a serious and balanced way with revenue and spending cuts and a long-term plan to bring down our deficit. there were just 38 of us who voted for a budget who reflected those principles. >> ifill: senator reed today on the floor of the senate that he doesn't think there will be a deal by christmas. do you agree with that from everything you've heard and read. >> there are very tough moments. we do have some time between now and christmas. that should not be time that's wasted. it should be time that is is used to really get some serious work done on, as you reflected, how we avoid the immediate concerns of tax increases going into effect, as the alternative minimum tax going into effect. cuts for physicians who take care of our seniors under
3:27 pm
immediate that's important to take care of before the end of the year. there's real work for us to do before the end of the year. many of us would love to get it done before christmas. it would help assurance to both consumers during this holiday shopping season and also the investor community as they begin to plan for next year. i've always said that tackle the immediate concerns, again protecting the middle class, making sure that seniors have access to their doctors under medicare and setting our self-s on the path to comprehensive tax reform and dealing with some of the high-cost efforts in the very beginning of the new year. i think that would be an acceptable outcome. sure, let's get it done faster than not and not wait until the end of the year. that would be great. if we have to stay until new year's eve we will. >> ifill: democrat from pennsylvania, allison schwartz, thanks very much. >> good to be with you. >> suarez: tomorrow night, we'll talk with anti-tax crusader grover norquist. you can watch our earlier interviews on our web site.
3:28 pm
>> woodruff: now, the u.s. government brings its highest- profile case yet of international money laundering against one of the world's biggest banks. for years, american officials have sought-- and sometimes struggled-- to crack down on the practices. today the departments of justice and treasury announced a settlement with hsbc. the bank agreed to pay almost $2 billion in fines and penalties. it was charged with violating sanctions laws by conducting business with customers in iran, sudan, and cuba. it was also party to helping them launder almost $900 million for mexican drug cartels. at a news conference in new york city, u.s. attorney loretta lynch described some of the practices at one of the bank's mexican units. the investigation revealed that staggering amounts of cash, hundreds of thousands of u.s. dollars daily, were being deposited into h.s.b.c. mexico using boxes especially made to fit through their tellers'
3:29 pm
windows to speed the transactions. indeed it was reported to one h.s.b.c. official that h.s.b.c. mexico had received the ringing endorsement of money launderers as the place to launder money. >> woodruff: devlin barrett is covering this story for the "wall street journal," and has more details for us now. so, thank you for joining us. how much money was involved and what are some other examples of what was going on beside this box that fit through the tellers' window. >> the $800 million you mentioned is what they know was essentially laundered drug proceeds but there's also actually vast pools of billion of dollars of money where the bank wasn't paying attention and wasn't checking the basic principle of know your customer. personally one of my favorite little tidbits in this whole case is there was a sequence of transactions in a bank in japan in which they brought sequentially numbered travelers checks into this one little bank in japan totaling $290 million. no one seemed to have any idea
3:30 pm
where it was coming from. it all traced back to a guy in russia who claimed to be a used car salesman. >> woodruff: a used car salemans. >> with $290 million in sequentially numbered travelers checks. >> woodruff: isn't there supposed to be internal monitoring going on inside a bank? >> right. the basic principle is called know your customer. since 9/11 and since a whole bunch of other money laundering issues have surfaced the u.s. government has really tried to make the banks tighter and more careful in terms of who they're doing business with, who they're moving money for. what seems to have happened repeatedly according to the investigators in the h.s.b.c. case is no one was actually questioned. >> woodruff: now it was clear that the investigation on the part of the government has been going on for several years. what brought all this to light? how did it surface? >> it actually started in 2007 with an operation called eldorado in new york that was looking at suspiciously large movements of money between new york and mexico. as they moved through that, they
3:31 pm
kept looking and kept opening doors and frankly in finding new problems. for example, at one point they realized that the bank branch in mexico had a location in the cayman islands where there on paper $2.1 billion worth of accounts for tens thousands of customers. that branch had no staff and had no office. and no one knew really who that money belonged to. >> woodruff: and the culpability inside h.s.b.c., devlin barrett, is it known who knew and how high it went? >> part of why the settlement was so large is because there was an electronic trail of all the internal warnings that went on. at one point one compliance officer claimed, what is this the school of low expectations banking? we know how this movie ends and it ends badly. and those warnings kept going up. they kept getting ignored. that's what the electronic records show. since this whole thing has come to light a lot of the senior leadership has changed out.
3:32 pm
there are new people in place. they've hired some pretty senior former u.s. anti-money landerring officials to try and get their systems correct. >> woodruff: the penalty sounds big, almost $2 billion. i listened to some of the news conference today. reporters were asking wait a minute. is this really a painful penalty tore a bank that deals in so much money? >> right. that's a recurring question in all these cases. on the one hand they've hit this bank harder than they've ever hit any bank for this type of violation. on the other hand, the bank is making i believe north of $10 billion in prove is. in the last year. $2 billion is not going to cripple them by any means but i do think that this is a hit for them. >> woodruff: and what about -- you and i were just talking about, this is a criminal investigation. no one is going to jail. >> right. this is the other issue that comes up in the public mind because since the financial meltdown, the constant complaint you hear is no one important has
3:33 pm
paid for doing anything truly criminal. and that issue has been raised again in this case. essentially the problem with making this a criminal case is is, one, you lose the certainty of the decision. if you take it to a judge and a jury, there's always uncertainty in that. you may not get $1.9. you may have some strange things happen to you. the other issue becomes, the government has made settlements with a bunch of other banks for this type of conduct. you would have to be able to make a coherent and fair argument that even though h.s.b.c. has cooperated for years at this point with this investigation that they still deserve to be indicted. i think that's a tougher argument to maining given their track record with these other banks. >> woodruff: finally, a sense that this is the tip of the iceberg, that they've gotten to the bottom of this? >> i think the draw... there's so much money that wants to move either illegally or illicitly in the financial system. there's always going to be, if not a temptation and the ability
3:34 pm
to help this money move, but i do think that with h.s.b.c., you see a really big chunk of the iceberg and maybe the last big chunk for a while. >> woodruff: devlin barrett of the wall street journal, thank you very much. >> thanks, judy. >> suarez: next, art and activism. jeffrey brown has a look at the first north american exhibit of work by china's ai wei wei. brown: antique wooden stools from the chink dynasty. a video documenting changes along a major street in beijing an ancient vase with a modern-day logo. now on display at the smithsonian's museum in washington d.c. in an exhibition called "according to what," these are the works by the chinese artist away way.
3:35 pm
a prankster who can make a tea house literally out of tea leaves and represents the surveil-camera that watches him at his home in china is a marble sculpture. he's a visionary who helped design the bird's nest stadium for the application and whose use of social media is shifting the boundaries of art and activism and a dissident. he took a picture and tweeted it even as he was being arrested in 2009. and then spent 81 days in prison, was beaten and made the x-ray image of the damage he suffered into an art work. >> for me living in today's world, if you live in china, it's very hard to do a work which is not... which does not reflect or suggest the other
3:36 pm
possibility and meanings. all the works i do which connect or reflect either to the art history or to the political situation. only in that context my work can have some meaning. >> brown: he lives in works in beijing and is not allowed by the government to travel outside china. he spoke through a camera crew hired by the newshour to pose our questions. >> i cannot separate myself from authorities or to so-called activists. only because i don't know what i will be next. >> brown: born in 1957, he is the son of a renown poet. the father and his family including the young wei wei were
3:37 pm
sent to be reeducated in a rural village for two years during the cultural revolution. ai wei wei came of age as part of a generation of young chinese artists. beginning in 1981 he lived in the u.s. for 12 years. his new york photographs, many of which are in the exhibition, chronicled his bohemian life with other artists and writers both chinese and american. >> for me ai wei wei has been one of the most important artisted that has emerged from this new wave of chinese art from the '90s and 2000. >> brown: chief curator. there are multiple layers in ai wei wei's work. you can read certain pieces very simply as what they are, but you can also dig deeper. you can see the history of china reflected in much of the work. you can see conflicts with western culture and eastern culture. you can see critiques sometimes of the chinese government or of other governments as well.
3:38 pm
power in general. >> brown: often you can see a provocation. as in one of his most famous works dropping a haung dynasty un, three photographs showing the destruction of a 2,000 cultural relic. >> one of the things i think cease saying is sometimes it's necessary to destroy the old before you can move forward with the new. and also by destroying something know is important, it suddenly makes you have to think about the value of things. what are they worth? who says they're valuable? >> brown: he returned to china in 1993 and became part of the country's cultural elite eventually tapped by the government to collaborate with a swiss architectural firm to design the 2008 olympic stadium. photos are on the floors and walls of the exhibition but he grew critical of the communist party's attempt to control the event. his biggest confrontation with the authorities soon followed after the earthquake in sichuan
3:39 pm
province when children were killed in schools that collapsed leading to accusations of official corruption and a cover-up. he photographed the destruction and started an on-line campaign to collect the names, ages and other data from each victim. that became a wall-sized display and an audio recording called "remember." he also transform tragedy into art collecting some 38 tons of steel rebar from the destruction, straightening it and arranging it as a large rolling sculpture titled "straight" and picking up one particularly poignant image from the rubble he created a long serpentine work constructed of children's backpacks.
3:40 pm
the documentary film ai wei wei never sorry captures some of his attempts to gain information on what had happened. film maker allison spent three years watching ai wei wei up close through his work as artist and activist. >> he is an artist first and foremost as a sort of overriding umbrella for all of his work, but to him what is the definition of an artist? it's someone who is interested in communication, who is interested in engagement, who has to be talking about things that are relevant to the world around him or her. >> brown: indeed, communication and new technology, the internet and social media, became a passion for ai wei wei. beginning in 2006 and lasting three years, he wrote a blog about art, life and politics before it was shut down by the government. he now spends hours a day online and remains very active on twitter though it's blocked within china. >> the internet is such a beautiful miracle for the
3:41 pm
society here because we are so living under very restricted dictatorship. you know, we are still dealing with a very restricted control on freedom of expression. the internet is the only vehicle for people to even sense there's another person who shares the same idea or who can offer different information about what has happened. that is the foundation for civil society. >> brown: a very serious side and still the playful side. the work of some 3200 river crabs made of porcelain. why? well the chinese term for river crab sounds like the word for harmonious. that in turn has become eye ronic internet slang in china referring to official censorship. ai wei wei continues to make museum ready objects such like
3:42 pm
tube light, a huge chandelier that refers to the traditions of both chinese lanterns and western minimalist art. he also continues to speak his mind. >> i often tell young people because they always say, oh, i feel so bad because i don't think we can change a society like this. i often reply to them, i say, they are part of the society. if we can change ourselves, if we can act so that means part of our society has changed. if more people can do so, then we can change the society. >> brown: after his release from prison in 2011 he was charged with tax evasion and hit with a multimillion dollar fine which his backers see as further punishment for his activism. in the meantime the chinese government continues to hold his passport which made it impossible for ai wei wei to attend the opening of the
3:43 pm
exhibition of his own work in washington. >> woodruff: in our interview with ai wei wei >> woodruff: in our interview with ai wei wei, he said he'll never be optimistic about china's new leadership. hear that plus his views on art and censorship on our web site. we also have more from our interviews about the artist. and you can view a slide show of images from the hirshhorn exhibit. >> suarez: finally tonight, new worries over the mobile apps kids are using, and what the apps disclose about their users. it seems like everyone has them, the ubiquitous applications, apps for short on smart phones and tablets including everything from instructive or educational materials to games. children of all ages, armed with these devices, are using apps and raising concerns over privacy. federal trade commission is now
3:44 pm
investigating whether companies that make apps are violating the privacy rights of children by collecting personal data from mobile devices and sharing it with advertisers and data banks. these types of apps can detail a child's physical location or phone numbers of their friends along with other information. yesterday the f.t.c. issued a new report documenting those concerns. it found among 400apps designed for kids most failed to inform parents about the types of data that could be gathered and who would access it. the co-editor of the collaborative web blog boing boing and a father who uses and closely watches apps for kids. we talked via laptop. >> your phone as a unique i.d., and so that i.d. could be passed to third party ad networks that are advertising on other apps so they can follow you from app to app and build a file on the kinds of things that you're doing. it can also collect your phone
3:45 pm
number and one thing that i think causes a lot of concern is that it can also track your geo location data if you give it permission to do so. so it knows where you are when you're using the app. so that kind of information certainly can be abused. if not by the app developer, then by someone getting into the database who shouldn't be getting into the database and getting access to it. >> suarez: a recent study by the pew research center shows parents are increasingly concerned as well. 81% of parents of on-line teens say they're concerned about how much information advertisers can find out about their child's on-line behavior. 46% said they were very concerned. companies such as google object to the f.t.c.'s characterization of on-line stores as digital danger zones with inadequate oversight. in a written statement sent to the newshour, a google spokesman
3:46 pm
said from the beginning android has had an industry-leading permission system which informs consumers what data an app can access and requires user approval before installation. additionally, we offer parental controls and best practices for developers to follow. in the weeks ahead the f.t.c. is expected to announce major changes to a 1998 law: the children's on-line privacy protection act. it would impose tougher on-line safeguards for children under 13. more now about these concerns and the industry's approach to hem. jessica rich is with the federal trade commission. she's the associate director of its division of financial practices. and morgan reed is executive director of the association for competitive technology, an advocacy group for app developers. jessica rich, it's your agency that came out with the report. what exactly is the problem? there's a lot of hinting that something is wrong but not a lot of pointing to direct
3:47 pm
malfeasance. >> the survey we did showed that apps were transmitting information from the devices to ad networks and other third parties. they also contained interactive features in them like access to social network so that a kid could get on a social network and interact with third parties without disclosing these features to parents. so we think parents ought to be able to know what data is collected and how it's used before they download an app for their children and also what kind of interactive features their children will be exposed to when they use an app that's really the simple message. >> suarez: long before we came this far the coppa tried to codify a government approach to oversight on this. did you find anybody in violation of that law?
3:48 pm
>> we did not go the distance of evaluating whether there were law violations. that often involves contacting the companies. what we tried to do with this survey is look at a broad swath of industry. 400apps to see what the trends were among those apps so we made findings based on the survey but we didn't make determinations whether there was a law violation. >> suarez: morgan reed, are the companies that develop these applications cleghting information about the people who use them? >> the vast majority of the mobile apps for kids in particular are not actually collecting information on kids and keeping it and storing it. oftentimes this is actually one of the biggest problems we have is the kind of information we may be collecting. you heard in the earlier segment the talk about the unique identifier. we may be using an identifier and no longer a unique one but an apps-specific identifier to make sure we know what the child
3:49 pm
likes about an app so we can improve it or if the child has reached a certain feature level, maybe a math app? have they completed a section? i may need to know that so i can show them the next set of problems. we have an education problem that my developer community needs to do more to be transparent and clear with parents about what they're collecting and why. >> suarez: right now at the point of entry when you first -- i know people use the terrible word interface -- but when you first encounter an application, is there sufficient protection at the front end so that everybody is clear on what's going on? what the rules are? >> there's two parts to that question. the first part is that is there that instantaneous knowledge? okay. am i going to tell you everything that's happening. we're working with the f.t.c. and n.t.i.a. on a project to try to give some level of short notification to parents that they'll actually get ahold of. the problem is for most people, anything that they have to read and digest they'll just by-pass.
3:50 pm
so what we've found is actually it needs to be kind of a one-two step. one, more transparency on if front end but, two, and what we're seeing right now is an addition of tools or other capabilities on the device level that allow parents to turn on or off features on a "just in time" basis rather than kind of permit everything to happen because you pass through an initial screen. we see that being kind of a leap-frog over this privacy policy over notification problem that we can run into. >> suarez: i'm not proud to admit but i've blown through those advisories and agreements and just click agree because i needed to get something done. how do you protect children when even the adults who are supposed to sit and read that don't take the tame to do it? >> i think that surveys and even reports of parent behavior show that parents are really concerned about their children. they may be willing to look at disclosures on behalf of their children in a way they wouldn't be able to look for disclosures on behalf of themselves. what we're asking for is is
3:51 pm
something very simple. we don't want long privacy policies. we want basic information about what is collected how it's used and whether their interactive features. we encourage developers and trade associations like morgan to develop icons so that it would be easier for parents to make comparisons and those icons can be tested with real consumers to see if they work but we're asking for something really basic which is that parents be able to find out what their children are exposed to when they download an app. >> suarez: this is a part of our commerce that hates rules. i think it's fair to say that. >> that's fair to say. suarez: can you make rules that leave everybody protected and happy at the end of the process? create some uniformity so that you don't get in trouble and parents are... feel that they've... they know what they're getting into? >> i think we also have to understand the battle between protected and informed. one of the things that is amazing is protection can
3:52 pm
obviously lead to things where you say, well, you cannot do this thing. there are enormous educational applications that are being developed right now. in fact several states are mandating or changing their rules and piloting tablet computers in the classroom. so there are all of these educational opportunities. some of them may need to have... may need to have some information. for example, an app like star-walk which is a really amazing application. as a parent when a child looks up at the sky at night and says, dad, what is that? i have an app on my device right now called star-walk that allows me to hold up my screen to the sky and it superimposes the stars exactly where i am at the time i'm at. i can say, well, honey, that's this galaxy. by the way, since you asked, hey, that's a gas giant. what does that mean? and yet to do that, i needed to know location. i needed to know what kind of device i was on. and so i needed to collect some information before i could
3:53 pm
actually show an amazing tool that allows parents to just grab ahold of an opportunity to engage with their kids that doesn't exist. so while i agree with protection, i think it also to be transparent. if the parent knows, hey, i'm going to use your location because i want to be able to show the night sky. that's what we all want to achieve. they make an informed choice. >> suarez: we're very close to the end of our time. can this be done voluntarily by the industry rather than with a rule-making from the ftc? >> we do have the children's on-line privacy protection act. as to this particular initiative, this is bully pull pill. we're asking the industry to do better. we're asking the industry to improve disclosures to parents. >> suarez: thank you both. thank you. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day, the state legislature in michigan gave final approval to right-to- work laws, barring unions from
3:54 pm
requiring workers to join in order to get a job. woodruff: this evening president obama and house speaker john boehner spoke by phone after the two sides exchanged new proposals this week in fiscal cliff negotiations. and late today mr. obama said the administration will recognize a coalition of syrian opposition groups. online, we look at a truly long- term reporting assignment. hari sreenivasan has more. >> sreenivasan: paul salopek is about to spend seven years tracing the ancient path of human migration around the globe. we talked about his route, the shoes he'll wear, and his emphasis on "slow journalism." and what's it like to have breast cancer in the poorest nation in the western hemisphere? that's next from our series with "pri's the world" on cancer in the developing world. all that and more is on our web site, ray? >> suarez: and that's the newshour for tonight. on wednesday, we'll look at the world in the year 2030. one intelligence report projects china will be on top economically, and the u.s. will be energy-independent.
3:55 pm
i'm ray suarez. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway. and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
3:56 pm
3:57 pm
3:58 pm
>> this is "bbc world news." funding of this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe,
3:59 pm
vermont, and honolulu, newman's own foundation, and union bank. >> at union bank, our relationship managers work hard to know your business, offering specialized solutions and capital to help you meet your growth objectives. we offer expertise and tailored solutions for small businesses and major corporations. what can we do for you? >> and now, "bbc world news." >> this is bbc world news america, reporting from washington. paying a record fine, the banking giant agrees to a $1.90 billion penalty to settle allegations of money laundering. waging a battle for
disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 12/11/2012